Source: Cannabis Lounges in KW?
Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness
Misinformation is dangerous. Reefer madness has taken on new forms for corporate interest, and former sources of information considered to be an authority in substance use, are being questioned. A racist brochure, created by Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services, somehow made it’s way to the information desk at Canadian Mental Health Association. St. Mary’s Addictions Services in Kitchener, was telling people in attendance for drug counseling a testimonial about; a friend of a friend who knew a guy that overdosed and died from THC, after eating a pot brownie at a party. When asked to site their sources, the so called professionals who became defensive, revealed their ignorance. With legalization looming, the need for credible education is desperate.
About 4-5 months ago, Cory Orr and Tony Millar, founders of Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness (ACCA), sparked some interest at 44 Gaukel. The two were referred to the Waterloo Region Small Business Center, where they connected with small business advisor Rob Clemet. WRSBC board of directors voted on ACCA’s application for funding, and came to a 50/50 split decision. Special thanks goes out to Rob, for advocating on on Tony and Cory’s behalf. ACCA is to be the first cannabis related business, approved for a grant!
The City of Kitchener hasn’t been very responsive to those seeking permits to offer safe access to cannabis, or lounges for consumption. Dispensaries that operated within the region were threatened with fines. Some closed their doors, while others continued to supply patients until they were raided. Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi warns “If you operate one of these facilities, consider yourself on notice,” yet the “offense of compassion” clearly has public support. Justices tasked with sentencing the owners of these facilities are giving absolute discharges. Licensed Producers under the ACMPR have been recalling product mailed to patients, while those seeking access from dispensaries are pushed back into the black market.
Grey market dispensaries, like the Toronto Compassion Club, have been managing physician prescribed access to medical marijuana since 1997. The majority of public safety concerns stem from both a lack of understanding, and implementation of the values which created these grey markets in the first place. ACCA believes that craft cannabis has a place in the market, but does feel the need to advise the public of any lingering concerns. Last summer, The Globe and Mail investigated products being supplied to patients at 9 dispensaries in Toronto. The results were not what most would expect. Lisa Campbell, chairwoman of Women Grow Toronto, told VICE she’s hoping there will be a constructive conversation about regulating recreational versus medical dispensaries instead of having knee-jerk policies put in place. Norml Canada declares that the criminal prohibition of the cultivation and use of cannabis is no longer the most suitable measure for protecting public health and welfare and preventing the diversion of drugs into illicit traffic.
ACCA’s primary goal is to educate the public, and acknowledge there is good and bad everywhere. “Everyone wants it (a lounge), but no one wants their name on it.” Court decisions continue upholding patients rights, while the The Minister of Health claims the government needs more time to work on designing an appropriate regulatory system to develop and implement regulations. ACCA acknowledges information provided by Health Canada is updated regularly, and cite current publications in order to maintain credibility.
Professor David Hammond at the University of Waterloo, has been a great resource for ACCA, with his graduate and student supervision. Hammond, CIHR-PHAC Chair in Applied Public Health, focuses his research on chronic disease prevention and global health in the areas of tobacco control policy, health diets and obesity prevention, as well as harm reduction and drug policy. Professor Hammond is studying the effects of vaporizing cannabis, to better support students with related research interests in cannabis and harm reduction.
ACCA began hosting information sessions at UC Vape September 15th 2017. Edible Awareness , was inspired by Lisa Campbell’s presentation to the Toronto Business Licensing Committee, and R v Smith. Owen Smith, former head baker for the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada, was acquitted of unlawful possession of marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking, after police found large amounts of cannabis-infused olive oil and cookies in his apartment. Smith argued that this was a fight against families, and that medical marijuana users should have the right to consume marijuana in other ways than smoking. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the R v Smith decision on edibles in 2015. Surprisingly, edibles were originally excluded from the legalization plans for July 2018. Last week, Canada’s standing committee on health voted to amend Bill C-45, the bill that will eventually legalize cannabis for all Canadians. The first amendment was the inclusion of edibles no later than 12 months after legalization has been enacted. The frivolous 100-cm height limit on the four plants Canadians will be allowed to grow at home was also dismissed. ACCA hosted guest speakers from Magical Butter and the Green Market, as well as Charlene Freedom, who discussed the topical application of cannabis products.
The second information night, entitled Extract Awareness, included live demonstrations with a hydraulic rosin press by Rosin Arts and a live ice water extraction using Bubble Bags. These presses and bags will potentially be made available for rental in the near future. Another partner, Blue River will be the supplier of terpenes. According to their website, Blue River offers the widest selection of award winning full spectrum essential oils naturally derived from whole plant cultivars. Their prices are based on grade, yield, and availability. These pure essential oil products are designed to be used as a diluent for aromatherapy and vaporization.
Cannabis Lounges and Activism, ACCA’S third installment of their ongoing mission to educate the public, drew some media attention. Jody Emery went into detail about her tireless efforts within political circles, while keeping Cannabis Culture Magazine alive following Marc Emery’s extradition. Jody worked diligently to keep things going while Marc served his time, but the Prince of Pot’s empire sounds as though it has seen better days. Abi Roach reminisced about when she started renting out a vapourizer back in 2003, to people looking for a place to consume their cannabis. The Hotbox Cafe in Toronto is celebrating it’s 14th year in operation. In the evenings “Hot Box Afterdark” hosts music and special events after 7pm. The Afterdark promotes itself as a great alternative to the bar scene. Abi spoke about how people need to consider what they’re advocating against, and that people shouldn’t have to get their pot from bikers.
Canna Relief, a product that soon to be on shelves at your local Shoppers Drug Mart, was available for sample. The CBD drink is a specially formulated supplement containing a synergistic blend of vitamins, herbs, amino acids, and 20mg of pure CO2 extracted CBD derived from hemp stalk and seed. CannaSafety are confident that CannaRelief will help you control and manage THC anxiety so that you can safely and therapeutically benefit from your personal medicine.
Patients First Action Plan for Heath Care aims to bridge the gap for patients to Access, Connect, Inform, Protect. “Although dispensaries were not a focus of the parties’ submissions, I find Ms. Shaw’s evidence [as a representative of the dispensaries] to be extremely important as dispensaries are at the heart of cannabis access,” Justice Phelan, Reasons for Judgment (February 2016) Allard decision. “Municipalities seem to want to help, but don’t want to put themselves at risk” said Millar. Provinces are going to have to manage the regulatory aspects, but the proposed framework for new legislation does not leave room for the current market. On their website, the Liberal Party says “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.” New penalties would range from a simple police citation to 14 years behind bars, along with a “zero-tolerance approach” to drug-impaired driving, and a “robust” public awareness campaign.
John Howard Society, Perspectives on Canadian Drug Policy excerpt; Because there were no advocates for the treatment of drug users prior to the late 1950s, it was easy for enforcement-related interests to implement harsh anti-drug legislation. This also meant that although drug users were often thought of as “sick,” imprisonment was a priority over treatment (Blackwell 1988:163). In addition, because habitual drug use was associated mostly with Chinese immigrants, many Canadians felt they were “immune from the effects of harsh drug legislation” (Alexander 1990:32).
Canadians deserve evidence based harm reduction strategies. Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness is working with front runners in the early stages of a legal market, to provide the most up to date information, and in the near future, a place where the culture can thrive. Safe consumption sites will help integrate the shift in consciousness, as stigma is replaced by awareness.